The Style Files

By Angela Caraway-Carlton
Photographs by Ricardo Mejia –

 

They guide us on what to wear, where to shop, and how to throw a fabulous party. They keep us on (and above) trend. Meet 7 style visionaries we can’t do without.

Kelly Saks Guerra

Digital Influencer & Wardrobe Consultant, kellysaks.com | CORAL GABLES

Name your favorite fashion trend right now. Ultra-feminine ruffles, statement sleeves and pastels. I love that fashion is finally paying attention to Latin American designers and so much of what is trending right now is inspired by some of my favorites, like Silvia Tcherassi and Johanna Ortiz.

How often do you recycle an outfit, and what’s your best advice for keeping your wardrobe fresh? I can’t say I ever recycle the same exact outfit twice, with the exception of a favorite dress or suit. For me, the most exciting thing about fashion is the challenge to always keep it fresh by re-imagining a look with accessories and makeup. My philosophy when it comes to building a wardrobe is mixing high-end and high-street, and that’s how I teach my clients to shop. Invest in the staples and have fun with trendy pieces.

What’s your favorite item in your closet? I’m big on shoes (I may or may not have two closets for them!), but the majority of my wardrobe is stocked with blazers and motorcycle jackets. I always say that every outfit needs a third piece to finish it off, and there’s nothing more chic than a blazer. Not only does it instantly add sophistication, but it makes you feel empowered.

 

Alina Villasante

Founder, Peace Love World, peaceloveworld.com | DORAL

You launched your feel-good brand in 2008. Ten years later, what’s your fashion message? 2018 is all about female empowerment and self-love. I am currently designing Spring 2019 and the theme is manifesting and feeling love and loving others. It starts from within.

Tell us about your latest big moves. On my vision board I have a quote that says, “Known locally, Loved globally.” This reflects the evolution of Peace Love World in 2018. Our corporate offices are in Doral, and our current Doral store and outlet will be new and improved and will transition into our flagship this year. Our global reach has also expanded through the QVC platform. One year ago, I was given the opportunity to spread my message of peace, love and happiness with a large audience, and I couldn’t have picked a better partner to help me do this.

You’re a self-described “Doral die-hard.” What do you love most about the city? Doral has been a home for my businesses for 27 years. Peace Love World was born here, and the city has been a huge part of our success. Doral is filled with energy, beautiful people and
culture. I love that I have watched the rise of the city and am surrounded by other local businesses that support one another.

 

Soledad Lowe

FGA Gemologist, Jewelry Designer and Creator of Casa Lowe | MIAMI

Why did you open your new jewelry atelier, Casa Lowe, in Miami? After taking a two-year break from designing jewelry, Miami gave me the inspiration to launch a new collection. My atelier and showroom are located inside a house built in 1932 and serve as an interactive space for friends and customers to feel inspired and at home. Soon, I’ll offer smaller classes in gemology and jewelry history, but it will be fun, with wine and coffee. I’m also developing candles and home fragrances.

What are you bringing to jewelry design that Miami hasn’t seen before? My upbringing in Sweden gives my jewelry a Scandinavian feeling, which I feel we haven’t seen yet in Miami, but my Argentine background also brings a contrast to the design that makes it playful. The idea is that you can mix them and not be restrained by one pair of earrings. For instance, you can buy two pairs and they are interchangeable.

How does living in Coconut Grove influence your jewelry designing? I see the ocean every day and it’s always shifting nuances of blues and greens. I love taking a walk through the marina and the park, and I’m also walking distance to the ever growing CocoWalk. Architecture and anthropology are my main inspirations.

 

Rene Ruiz

Fashion Designer | CORAL GABLES

You’ve been dressing Miami women since 1993. What’s next for you? While I will always dress women all over the world, my passion is to work closely with the Miami Fashion Institute to make sure that our city becomes a hub for the fashion industry; not just for retail and modeling, but for the manufacturing that will create thousands of jobs for a city like ours that is full of immigrants in search of the American dream.

How do you make sure you’re always evolving and on the cusp of new fashion innovations? I pay attention to what’s going on in the world today, but I also stay in touch with the actual customer and listen to what they want, as well. I love sitting in high-traffic areas to see what people are wearing.

What’s your secret to sketching and designing? It all depends; sometimes it starts with a sketch and the challenge is to find the fabric, while other times it’s the fabric that dictates the design. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I was recently in Lisbon and was completely taken by the understated charm of the city and the people. I’m sure it will transpire in my future collections.

Who is your dream person to dress? I would love to dress the newest princess, Meghan Markle, of course.

 

Lourdes Milian

Owner, Lourdes Milian Productions | CORAL GABLES

You’ve produced some of the most glamorous weddings and social events in South Florida; do you have a top event that stands out? And what are some of your favorite venues that exude style? I adore all our events and couples for different reasons—we recently had a beautiful wedding with an extraordinary performance by John Legend, where we transformed a recognizable space on Fisher Island into an ultra-luxurious Tuscan-inspired villa. I feel fortunate to live in a place with such an excellent selection of beautiful properties to host events. You have old-world, historical waterfront venues like Vizcaya and Fisher Island to more contemporary luxury spaces like Mandarin Oriental and St. Regis Bal Harbor, with an immense list in between.

What’s your creative process when planning? One of the things that makes me different from other planners is I listen, listen, and then listen some more to get into the zone of a client’s vision. I create mood boards and sketch until an idea has been developed and a concept is chosen. I then seek the help of some of Miami’s finest floral designers to help all the beauty come to life.

Describe a favorite trend in event planning and design right now. I am excited by that fact we are hitting a trend where so many rules can be broken. A place in time where anything is possible, and all can be merged to make beautiful things. Wood and mixed metals, cut crystal and acrylic, mirrors and ornate candelabras—it all works perfectly!

 

Tiffany Dominguez

Owner, taudrey, taudrey.com | CORAL GABLES

You started your jewelry business at just 24 years old and were one of the first to recreate the personalized nameplates almost ten years ago. How have your designs withstood time and trends? The plate necklace, my very first design (I can remember cutting the metal slices on my carpeted bedroom floor!), continues to be a best-seller and has now expanded to a multitude of different designs. It really set the precedent for our theme of handcrafted and personalized jewelry. Women are encouraged to tell a story with their taudrey pieces—and it warms my heart when I see someone wearing a plate necklace around town and they stop to tell me things like, “I love my piece, I have my baby’s name on mine!”

How does Miami play a role in your designs? I was born and raised in Miami, and most of the team members were as well, and everything is crafted in-house. Most significantly, Miami’s weather tends to play a big role in our designing process—the jewelry needs to be able to withstand heat and humidity. We also use tropical themes such as pineapples, palm trees and flamingos in our stamp details.

You’re expecting your first baby in March; how will this affect your line’s style? We currently have a kids’ line, but I know my daughter, Siena, will inspire many new designs and an expanded collection. We also offer mommy-and-me bracelet sets and any of our designs can be made smaller according to the child’s age. I’m especially excited to make myself our “mommy cuff,” a gold cuff that can be personalized with birth details like the date, time, weight and inches.

 

Lesley Griffith

Fashion Stylist & Owner of The Griffin | MIAMI

You have quite the fashion history in Miami, from 24 years as a buyer to now owning your own luxury shoe boutique. How do you think our city has changed when it comes to fashion and style? I think the city has changed and grown thanks to the influence of our international travelers—people from all over the world vacation here. I also think Miami has a huge impact on fashion since we have a sense of freedom with how we dress.

What’s your favorite fashion trend right now? I can’t say I’m a “trendy girl.” I really stick to promoting things that are beautiful and encourage my clients to stick to things that are classic, elegant, and of course, fun.

Describe your personal style and how does Miami influence what you wear? I dress for
comfort! The heat definitely plays a role, so usually I wear skirts and dresses. Also, this is a way for me to show off my shoes.

How many pairs of shoes are in your closet right now and what’s the one shoe you’re coveting right now? Too many to count. I’m obsessed with anything Gianvito Rossi.

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